Katrina, are you writing an article on Jazmine Sullivan's album? Yes. Yes, I am.
A Safe Space
Jazmine Sullivan (She/Her) won Best R&B Album For ‘HEAUX TALES’ at the 2022 GRAMMYs. Her album was amazing but her acceptance speech is what made me write this.
In her acceptance speech Jazmine said her album "ended up being was a safe space for Black women to tell their stories, for us to learn from each other, laugh with each other and not be exploited at the same time."
Black girls, especially big boned Black girls, are not given space to explore their sexuality without scrutiny. They are shamed and held to such a ridiculous standard. This stems from the hyper sexualization and fetishization of Black women and girls.
Here are some words and terms associated with this thinking:
I am forever thankful that there are voices uplifting other voices to free us from this thinking and are ready to build safe spaces.
In Jazmine Sullivan's award winning album she provides ballad after ballad entrenched with vulnerability, sexual experiences and a deep look into the ideology we are taught about our bodies and what we are allowed to do with them.
Here are the pieces that made the album so unique for me, made it feel so real and so safe:
This clip reminded me of church. It also broke down clearly how strange it is that some people are hoes and some people aren't even though we've probably all engaged in similar experiences.
Gayyyyyy! In this recount a person cheats on their fiance with their best friend. This was my first time hearing this type of typical romantic occurrence with all (assuming) Black women.
My first marriage was abusive as hell. After we separated I felt lost and like I needed a new partner to be alive. This song captured that time in my life perfectly.
Each of these pieces touched on parts of me that I've never heard spoken on publicly.
Lack of representation is detrimental to mental health and contributes to long lasting negative psychological effects. It's wild to think of how much representation we lack across all media that I have pieces of myself that I was not even aware are not being properly represented. Things need to change and that change only occurs when we all start taking beautiful strides to tell these untold stories and allow others to do the same, just as Jazmine Sullivan has done.
Do Your Part: Be a Hoe
Not once in my life have I come across a movement or project in this realm where I was able to see myself in it. I remember the Slut Walk with Amber Rose (She/Her) and not to conflate but even the #MeToo movement , which was created by Tarana Burke (She/Her) was later kind of co-opted by White women. It is has even been noted how the LGBTQIA+ community often makes large strides because of the large amounts of White people at the front.
I know there are other people who needed this and I love that these safe spaces are being built.
Here are some major takeaways I took from this album and I hope you do as well:
There is no shame in figuring out who you are
Your body is your body and you are allowed to do with it as you please
You are not your proximity to a partner, you are your own person
If you don't see a space for the things that you need, get building
"So, shout out to all Black women who are just living their lives and being beautiful. I love you all."
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